Elden Ring: Ainsel River Complete Guide

Quick Links

  • The Three Ways To Get To Ainsel River
  • Ainsel River Depths Walkthrough
  • Ainsel River Main Walkthrough
  • Nokstella, Eternal City
  • Notable Field Bosses In Ainsel River
  • Notable Loot In Ainsel River

Ainsel River is an underground section of the map in Elden Ring. It consists of three different areas. A lower area, a higher area, and the lost Eternal City of Nokstella. There are multiple ways to enter these locations, and it's a crucial part of Ranni The Witch's side quest.

This guide will show you how to get through Ainsel River to the very end, without excluding any important loot and bosses along the way. Completing the Ainsel River map is not necessary for completing Elden Ring, unless you want to complete the Age of The Stars ending.

The Three Ways To Get To Ainsel River

There are two parts to the Ainsel River, and they don't naturally connect. You have to access Ainsel River Depths differently than you would access Ainsel River Main.

To enter the lower Ainsel River Depths, you have to use the Ainsel River Well in Liurnia of The Lakes. This is an elevator that will take you below, much like the Siofra River Well in Mistwood. There is a large golem guarding the Ainsel River Well that can easily be ignored. You can sneak around the backside of the well, jump onto it and sneak into the elevator chamber.

To enter the upper Ainsel River Main, you can either use a portal or travel via coffin. When doing Ranni The Witch's quest, she will eventually give you access to the Renna's Rise tower behind Caria Manor. Atop this tower will be a portal, which will transport you to Ainsel River Main.

The last way to get into this underground river is by interacting with a coffin in Deeproot Depths. At the Site of Grace The Nameless Eternal City, there will be a body of water flowing into a waterfall off the map. Head directly north-west towards a coffin at the very edge of the water. This will transport you to Ainsel River Main.

Ainsel River Depths Walkthrough

  1. Ant Cave
  2. Sluice Gate

From the Ainsel River Well Depths Site of Grace, you want to enter the hole in the wall surrounded by ants. To the right is a dead-end with only some Magic Grease to loot. Into the ant cave, you'll want to continue forward, winding to the right. You'll soon leave the cave and enter a large, open area with a cobblestone bridge ahead. When walking along this bridge, look down. You'll notice a ton of small enemies. Continue across the bridge to the Ainsel River Sluice Gate Site of Grace.

This is a dead-end. Just outside from where the Grace is, is a door that has an elevator inside. This is the Sluice Gate. It will lower you to the enemies below. You can summon here, but it's way too easy to get overwhelmed by all the enemies that appear and surround you. The best option is to simply run past them into the next area.

  1. Malformed Star
  2. Map fragment
  3. Downstream Grace

The next area is far more dangerous. A Malformed Star will be perched ahead, lobbing meteorites at you. There will also be the same small enemies around. What you want to do here is first make it behind the Malformed Star. The best way to avoid danger is to keep running into cover as you inch your way closer. While behind cover, you can kill any enemies that walk up to you. There will be enough space and time to take care of them and move into the next cover. When behind the Malformed Star, you cannot be attacked by it. Behind the boss is a merchant and the map for Ainsel River.

From the merchant, you want to exit the safe zone and head directly right. There will be a Grace you can jump down to. From this Grace, walk down the dark river until you meet a small opening. There will be some ants inside. To your left is a dead-end where you can overlook Lake Rot, a whole different underground map. To the right is a boss and the end of Ainsel River Depths.

Head right, then right again, and make a left. It's pretty dark here, so you may want to pop out a lantern if you have one. This is the Dragonkin Soldier of Nokstella. After defeating him, he will drop the Frozen Lightning Spear Incantation. There is a treasure chest in the small room he spawned in front of. Inside contains Great Ghost Glovewort, an important item for upgrading Spirit Ash summons.

From here, there is nowhere else you can go. Behind the small room, down the waterfall, you will notice a Site of Grace in the distance. You must now leave Ainsel River Depths and use one of the two ways to enter Ainsel River Main to continue traversing through the river.

Ainsel River Main Walkthrough

  1. Malformed Star
  2. Wing of Astel
  3. Nokstella

Directly past this Site of Grace is yet another Malformed Star. Once again, you want to keep progressing forward while running from cover to cover and killing any smaller enemies that get too close. From the broken ruins, you can use ranged attacks to kill the Malformed Star from afar with ease. Attack with magic or arrows then retreat back into cover. You can also rush the boss and attack his head from behind. Malformed Star's don't move or turn around.

Behind the star is the entrance to another ant cave. There will be a fork in the road. Head left first. There will be a strange figure at the end of the cave. Lure it in, because once you exit you'll be attacked by the previous Malformed Star from Ainsel River Depths if you did not kill it. Head right and jump down to the beams behind the Malformed Star. There will be a chest directly behind where the boss would be. Inside is the legendary Intelligence sword Wing of Astel.

Heading back to the fork in the road, going right will lead you to the next area of the map. Nokstella, Eternal City.

Nokstella, Eternal City

  1. Up the stairs
  2. Ant shield and Bell Bearing
  3. Silver Balls

From the Nokstella, Eternal City Site of Grace, there will be stairs directly in front of you. A speedy Nightmaiden will be patrolling the stairs. Lure her closer to the Grace, as further up is more trouble. Directly to the left, just before the Nightmaiden on the stairs, there is a room with another Nightmaiden. She guards a treasure chest that holds the ant shield, Ant's Skull Plate.

Instead of going up the stairs in front of the Site of Grace, you can go right and hug the wall to your left until you come across stairs near the end of the river. There will be a Nightmaiden above guarding a chest containing Ghost Glovewart (9).

Atop the stairs will be several, and we mean several, silver tear enemies. It's best to get them bunched together and slowly walk down the stairs, taking them out a couple at a time. If they explode too close to each other, they will hurt each other. Another option is to make a straight run for it, past them, but you may get stuck with so many in a tight spot.

Once the silver tears have been dealt with, you can head left up the stairs to find another room off to the side. Inside is shielded silver tears that are harder to hit unless you get them from behind. Inside the room is a treasure chest that holds the Ghost-Glovewort Picker's Bell Bearing (2). Back to the top of the stairs, head right, and walk down the path. A silver tear will drop down behind you, but they are slow, and it's only one, so nothing to worry about. You'll turn left up to some stairs and then come across a wide bridge. As soon as you get to this spot, a rolling ball – you know, the ones that really want to kill you – will start rolling down the stairs ahead. No matter where you go here, it will hunt you down.

The best course of action is to sprint towards the stairs it's coming down from. Have faith. As soon as the ball starts rolling, sprint to the end of the stairs and hide between the railing and the nearest light post. The ball will be stuck trying to get past this small gap. Don't move too close to it or too far left, or it will get you. From here, you can easily start swinging at it until it's dead. After it's dead, you're free to walk back down the bridge. There will be a sealed imp statue door to the right. Inside are two troubling Nightmaidens and a treasure chest harboring Spirit Ashes for Nightmaiden & Swordstress Puppets.

These deadly Silver Balls drop Larval Tears upon defeat.

Back to the stairs where the ball started rolling, to the right is another room with a treasure chest. Don't walk inside. Instead, look up and use target-lock. If you walk inside this room, the door will close behind you and the ball will do everything in its power to crush you. Ranged is the only way here. You can range attack the ball while it's still on the ceiling, and it won't drop down.

Once it's killed, you can safely enter the room and loot the treasure chest which contains another Great Ghost Glovewort.

  1. Trio of enemies
  2. Golden Seed
  3. Lift to Nokstella Waterfall Basin

Next, go up the stairs that the rolling ball spawned onto. Inside the next room will be a ton of silver tears and another rolling ball hiding on the ceiling. Instead of rushing in, try walking in slowly enough to trigger the ball to drop and then lure the ball to the front doors. The ball cannot exit this room – you're essentially trapping it between the doors, where you can do free damage until it's dead.

When the ball drops and rolls towards you, it will kill some of the silver tears for you as well! At the very end of this room is a chest with Somber Smithing Stone (7).

Find an opening to the left of the room. There will be a long walkway towards another room. It doesn't get easier from here. Inside this room is a Nightmaiden and two Silver Tear Mimics. You can summon here.

At the end of this room is a chest containing Moon of Nokstella. To continue forward, whether you defeat the enemies or not, you must turn left where there is an opening to a cliffside. Jump down, there's an elevator that will take you to lower Nokstella. Collect the Golden Seed from the Phantom Tree then head South, where you'll see an entrance. This will be another elevator that will take you to the last Grace of Nokstella and Ainsel River. From here, you will have to face the Baleful Shadow if you're doing Ranni's side quest. Directly behind the Baleful Shadow is the entrance to a new location, Lake of Rot.

RELATED: Elden Ring: Liurnia Of The Lakes Complete Walkthrough

Notable Field Bosses In Ainsel River

Boss Location
Malformed Star Ainsel River Depths
Dragonkin Of Nokstella Ainsel River Depths, past the Ainsel River Downstream Site of Grace
Malformed Star Ainsel River Main
Baleful Shadow Nokstella, past the Nokstella Waterfall Basin Site of Grace

Notable Loot In Ainsel River

Loot Location
Golden Seed Past Ainsel River Sluice Gate.
Larval Tear x3 Dropped by Silver Ball enemies.
Miniature Ranni North of Ainsel River Main Site of Grace.
Celestial Dew x2 On the right side of the river to the North of Nokstella, Eternal City Site of Grace.
Frozen Lightning Spear Dropped by defeating Dragonkin Soldier of Nokstella in Ainsel River Depths.
Ant Shield Looted from a chest in a room to the left of the main stairs in front of Nokstella, Eternal City Site of Grace.
Wing Of Astel Looted from a chest on the beams behind the Malformed Star by the merchant. Accessible through Ainsel River Main.
Moon Of Nokstella Looted from a chest behind a trio of enemies in Nokstella, just before the lift to Nokstella Waterfall Basin.

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